Not a successful summit of both but I'll just combine the two for a conditions update.
Aimed for Snoqualmie Peak today and braved the crowd of skiers at Alpental. Already at 8am the lot was nearly full. Followed some footprints up the regular route which quickly disappeared into a field of slide alder. Much less snow that I'd expected, not enough to cover the alder or creek bed. I'd brought snowshoes and full crampons based on the NWAC warning of icy conditions. The crampons were more useful on the icy surface crust. Unfortunately this crust wasn't thick enough to hold my weight and I'd often break through hip deep into tree wells or voids. I climbed up around 800 ft before turning back, not wanting to risk reinjuring my shoulder or falling into a hole I couldn't climb out of.
Instead I detoured down to Bandera. No snow at all on the trail until the point where switchbacks begin. From here to the boulder field it's only spotty snow and easily traversed. I put on microspikes going up the slope from the Bandera/Mason junction. Spring-like conditions including the temperature! The icy crust was present here too but breaking through only postholed to near knee deep, much less annoying. Higher on the ridge there were several patches of thicker ice.
I claimed the summit and planted my Seahawks flag, settling in for a nice stay on top. It was 37 degrees when I left Seattle and 60 on the top with only a mild wind. Great views to Rainier, Adams, and Baker. A nice consolation after turning back from Snoqualmie.
My only goal for the day anyway was to plant my Seahawks flag on the summit of any peak higher than 4900 ft anyway.
Do you ever use the Commonwealth Basin approach over the Cave Ridge saddle? No cars, no crowds, little foot traffic. Snoqualmie has a worthwhile sub-summit leading off towards Lundin and maybe Red. Room to play around Cave Ridge, or wander out Commonwealth Basin. Snoqualmie's summits are corgi-friendly in congenial conditions.
The Hair ice is beautiful. Not sure I've seen it before this year.
I've been up to Cave Ridge via Commonwealth but not on to Snoqualmie. I'd figured with the new snow some backcountry skiers would have been up there during the week and kicked in some nice steps but there was no sign of anyone going up there recently. Conditions were just really crummy today on the lower slopes, I'm assuming better on the ridge. I probably could have made it but I'm still playing it very safe another month or two, and had to be back early. The two guys ahead of me kept on going. Hope they made it.
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